Is President Trump Launching a 'War on Science'?
Days after the 500,000-strong Women's March on Washington, scientists are planning a march of their own. They allege that President Donald Trump's administration has slashed funding, gagged scientific findings, and pressured them to abandon "science-based policies." Some (The Boston Globe editorial board) have even accused Trump of launching a "war on science."
On Tuesday, two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees said that Trump's administration had instructed their agency to remove the climate change page from its website. On Monday, Axios leaked a Trump administration memo for change at the EPA, which listed large cuts in climate programs and even "changing the way the EPA uses science."
For climate alarmists this sounds like the end of the world. "An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world," the group behind the science march declared on its website. Andrew Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, declared that "the scientific community is ready to fight back against any efforts to marginalize or suppress science and undermine science-based policies and research people depend on."
The problem is, the administration's actions haven't exactly been against science itself, but rather a particular politicized interpretation of science.
"The work of the EPA has been heavily politicized under the previous administration," Jay Richards, assistant research professor at the Catholic University of America and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, told PJ Media. "There is no evidence whatsoever that the current administration is interested in suppressing genuine research or purging scientific data. It is within its rights to change priorities, and to correct the ideological imbalances of the previous administration."
Richards argued that "so much publicly funded climate research has not hewed closely enough to the data itself, preferring instead to rely on speculative models based on poorly tested assumptions." Rather than determining "facts on the ground" in order to enable policymakers to "run cost/benefit analyses based on the real world," the EPA "models assume the question ahead of time, so don't constitute independent evidence of it."
"With respect to climate change, it has yet to be determined precisely what the role of human activity is, and in particular, how sensitive the climate is to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide," Richards added. "What is fairly clear is that most of the models predict about twice the rate of warming as we actually observe. That is the central scandal of the climate change debate."
H. Sterling Burnett, research fellow on the environment at the Heartland Institute, laid out the political motives of these supposedly pro-science groups very succinctly. The Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, "aren't scientists," he told PJ Media in an interview Wednesday. "It's a lobbying group. For $25, you too can become a concerned scientist!"